GUWAHATI, April 19 - Renowned engineer Prof Sarada Sarma has urged the government to clarify as to what is its thrust area behind the proposed exercise to dredge the Brahmaputra.
Talking to this newspaper, the London-based Prof Sarma, who was in the city recently said, �The government should make it very very clear as to what is the purpose of the present proposal to dredge the Brahmaputra � flood control, or, to create a narrow navigational channel, or, both.�
If the purpose behind this proposed exercise is to control the perennial problem of flood, then the river would need a width of a kilometre or so. This will also serve the purpose of the navigable channel.
If it is a navigable channel, it will then need the width of at least two vessels of standard size crossing each other throughout the channel. But, this will not serve the purpose of flood control, said Prof Sarma, an Emeritus Reader at the Imperial College, London.
He maintained that whatever may be the case, it should be ensured that the river remains useful for the common people.
He further said that the experiences of other countries in dredging complex rivers, like the Brahmaputra, should also be taken into account. Besides, the traditional knowledge of the riparian people about the river should also be taken into consideration while chalking out a plan for the purpose, said the renowned expert in geotechnical earthquake engineering and engineering seismology.
In the case of flood control, a comprehensive approach should be considered. And this approach should comprise the components of increasing the cross sectional area of the flow channel so that higher volume of water can pass through it.
The other components of this approach should be reducing the storm water flow into the river channel by catchment area forestation; rainwater harvesting and building small dams on the tributaries so as to arrest the flow of floodwater in the short term.
Any proposal for flood control should include all these aspects to become effective, said the noted engineer, who is known for his Sarma Models for slope stability world over.